4 May 2020

Gun owners in court over government compensation for ammunition

6:31 pm on 4 May 2020

Gun owners who were forced to hand in ammunition say they have been given a raw deal.

A selection of firearms which are now prohibited, on display to media at a police press conference.

Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

A judicial review hearing is under way at the High Court in Wellington between the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners and the police minister.

The gun owners group said the government banned some types of ammunition after the Christchurch mosque shootings last year without proper consultation or compensation.

The Arms Amendment Act made it an offence to possess, sell or supply certain types of ammunition.

The group wants the court to decide whether gun owners were entitled to be reimbursed.

Its lawyer Jack Hodder told the court this morning ammunition was "an afterthought".

He said the compensation element of the gun buyback scheme could have included ammunition.

"It's self evident that firearms are inherently dangerous - they can injure or kill people - so this case is not about the firearms themselves but about ammunition ... one of the things that will emerge from the narrative is that ammunition is almost an afterthought," he said.

The gun group said the legislation was rushed and there was confusion about which ammunition was illegal.

It said there was no evidence it posed any additional safety risks.

The group questioned whether Police Minister Stuart Nash took the wrong information into account.

Hodder countered Nash's comments that ammunition had a smaller value than weapons.

"And so if one has got a substantial stockpile - for the reasons of for example converting it into more useable ammunition ... then you may finish up with a respectable value of material held," he said.

The hearing before Justice Cooke is set down for two days.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs